Boston High School: St. Bernard's

BROCKTON, Mass. -– Almost as soon as he got on the bus departing the St. Bernard’s Activity Center last Jan. 19, the 62-52 loss to the Bernardians still fresh on the mind, Joey Crane wanted a second crack at them.

Tuesday night in front of a rowdy home crowd at Cardinal Spellman, that anguish came full circle –- in fact, it exploded. Crane tomahawked homed a breakaway dunk late in the third quarter that put the Cardinals (13-3) up by 29, the piece de resistance of a 71-36 drubbing that split the season series with St. Bernard’s (9-5).

[+] EnlargeJoey Crane
Brendan Hall/ESPNJoey Crane's third-quarter dunk, part of a 17-point effort, brought the house down.
“This feels pretty good. Our other two losses were to Franklin and Mansfield, and we couldn’t avenge those because they were one game [in the Shooting Touch Shootout],” said Crane, who finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks. “It feels good to finally get revenge on them [St. B’s] in this game.”

Added senior point guard Ryan Roach, who chipped in with 12 points and six assists, “We really wanted this one.” He then pointed to the student section across the gymnasium and added, “Them just as much as us.”

As routs go, this one was a Picasso, and Crane was its master stroke.

The Bernardians were without their star sophomore forward Garrett Stephenson, who injured his right ankle early in last Saturday's loss to Northbridge. And although their own star forward Rory Donovan sat most of the night in foul trouble, the Cardinals were able to take advantage of the absence of Stevenson, who beat up the Cardinals for 15 points in their first meeting.

St. B's came out in a 2-3 zone, and Spellman responded by shooting the lights out, going 4-for-8 from three-point range -- including two from senior Austin Joseph -- as they took a 26-11 lead after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Cardinals extend their lead to 40-23 with a series of dazzling plays at both end of the floor. First, Roach pounced on a missed Bernardians' three-point attempt to trigger a fast break, and from there dished a pretty no-look pass to Bryan Barry, who drew a foul on the way up and sank one of two free throws.

Crane then followed up with a block from behind, pinning the ball against the backboard as John Conry attempted a layup. Then on the next trip down the floor, he ripped the ball out of a Bernardian player's grip as he pivoted in the lane, going coast to coast for a layup and 33-16 lead.

"That's something he can do every night," Spellman head coach Mike Perry said. "He's got those kinda tools. He can shoot it, he runs the floor, Ryan [Roach] does a great job finding those guys around the basket, makes real nice passes. If you can score inside and outside, you're gonna be a very good high school player, and I think at the next level he's gonna have that too."

In the third quarter, things truly got untracked.

Up 47-24, Crane dished out of the corner to Joseph, who dribbled along the right wing and then -- seemingly out of boredom -- swung it back to Crane, who drained a three.

A minute later, the Cardinals went vertical. Roach launched an alley-oop from near midcourt to Donovan, who laid in the pass with two hands, for a 54-26 advantage at 4:30 of the third. Then a minute and half later, Crane send the crowd into its loudest frenzy of the night with an authoritative overhand smash, his fourth dunk of the season, to make it 58-29.

"That was awesome," Crane laughed. "And to do it in front of that crowd, it's like nothing else. I was going crazy."

Overall, the Cardinals shot 53 percent from the floor, which included an 8-for-16 mark from three-point range. They also outrebounded the Bernardians 31-23, and outscored them 31-13 over the final two quarters.

Senior Christian LaRoche led St. B's with 11 points, while 6-foot-7 sophomore center Joseph Saba chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Brian Donohoe also had 10 points in the win for Spellman.

Stephenson hopeful to return soon: St. B's head coach Mark Pierce said that Stephenson will likely miss the next week, possibly two, with the ankle he sprained five minutes into Saturday's contest against Northbridge. The 6-foot-5 Stephenson, a Townsend resident,l is a dynamic inside-out force with terrific post moves, and picked up some additional attention over the offseason from his time playing with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC).

"Our size is our strength, and obviously losing Garrett hurts us," Pierce said. "We're a different team. Make no excuses, they [Spellman] came out and played very well tonight. But we knew we'd have to work hard on the boards tonight, and then they started hitting three's all over the place and I knew we were in trouble."

Recap: No. 10 St. John's (S) 68, No. 11 SPM 62

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
12:51
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SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- When Davon Jones got fouled and fell hard on his elbow late in the fourth quarter, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) head coach Bob Foley asked his star point guard a question that the coach probably already knew the answer to.

“Davon, you OK?” Foley shouted from the end of the bench.

Wincing in pain and holding his elbow, Jones jumped up and waved off his coach — he wanted to be the one to shoot the free throws. He swooshed the first, then the second, giving the Pioneers their first lead of the second half, 64-62, with less than a minute to go in the game.

As an encore, he nailed two more from the charity stripe to put the game out of reach just moments later. Senior T.J. Kelley (14 points, 10 rebounds) sealed the deal by hitting two free throws of his own with 12 seconds left, giving the No. 10 Pioneers a 68-62 victory over rival No. 11 St. Peter-Marian in front of a standing-room only crowd.

The standout defensive back has taken plenty of hits in his career though, and for Jones the hard foul certainly wasn’t worse than some of the hits he’s taken on the gridiron.

“I’m fine," Jones said. "I play football, so I’m kind of used to it."

Jones is a rare breed in Foley’s system — a junior point guard who is also a three-year starter. An exceptional on-ball defender with lightning-quick bursts of speed with or without the ball, Jones’ poise and hard-nosed style of play gave Foley no choice but to put him in the starting lineup nearly from the time he arrived at St. John’s.

“He’s such a tough kid that he banged it really good and I was all set to send a sub in … and he just goes ‘No, no, no,'" Foley said. "It’s great to have tough kids."

The Pioneers’ comeback was one that will be talked about for a long time.

When St. Peter-Marian coach Marcus Watson called timeout with 3:23 left in the game, the Guardians (4-2) led St. John’s, 62-51. Despite the eleven-point deficit, Foley encouraged his team to stay together and stick to their gameplan of putting ball pressure on SPM and get the ball inside the paint offensively.

“Coach Foley just told us to stay together," Jones said. "Whenever we listen to coach, good things happen. I just think we came out and said together that we’ll play defense, we’ll talk, and we just played together."

To little surprise, it was Jones (11 points) who helped set fire to the comeback. Shortly after the timeout, Jones drove into the paint and fed big man Alex Fisher (15 points) with a beautiful no-look pass, Fisher finished off the conventional three-point play after getting fouled. The next time down Jones did the exact same thing, this time feeding sophomore guard Nick Lukasevicz, who hit two free throws after getting fouled.

“The kid I thought did a great job tonight was Nick Lukasevicz — the sophomore who had barely even played in the game,” Foley said, “he played a couple minutes earlier, but he got in there and we feel like he’s a very steady kid who never turns the ball over. When he was in there we didn’t turn the ball over.”

The Pioneers (7-1) were able to capitalize on SPM’s inexperience down the stretch, putting a trap on their guards defensively while the Guardians forced shots and got away from the ball movement that helped them pull away at the end of the first half.

“The kids believe in each other and I believe in them," Foley said. "We threw that half-court trap at [St. Peter-Marian] and got them to turn the ball over. They took a couple long shots and we got every rebound off that situation, we got every rebound, I thought we got every loose ball at the end, and everyone just kind of did their job.”

St. John’s had no answer for Guardians’ star sophomore Makai Ashton-Langford (18 points) in the first half. Ashton-Langford, a heralded Division 1 recruit who was playing in front of University of Maryland assistant coach Scott Spinelli, got to the rim nearly at will in the middle quarters — enabling SPM to go on a 15-1 run spanning from the end of the second quarter to the middle of the third.

Another sophomore, Greg Kuakumensah (13 points, 8 rebounds) was the only other Guardians’ player who finished in double-figures. Tom Annan and Jamal Smith each scored eight points for SPM, which will face No. 1-ranked Putnam in Springfield on Sunday.

The Pioneers, who have now won five in a row after losing to Leominster in their second game of the year, will host another league foe, St. Bernard’s, on Friday night.

“[Beating St. Peter-Marian] doesn’t boost our confidence as much as it just makes us work harder. We understand where we stand now,” Jones said, “tomorrow we’ll be back at practice ready to go.”

St. Bernard's adds Cathedral for open date

November, 21, 2013
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After its annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against was canceled as Lunenburg forfeited the remainder of its schedule, St. Bernard's football has picked up a pre-holiday game against Boston Cathedral, athletic director Jim Beauregard told ESPN Boston this morning.

The Saints will host Cathedral on Saturday in a 4 p.m. kickoff at the Bernardian Bowl.

"Cathedral has a Thanksgiving opponent [Marian H.S.]," Beauregard wrote in an email. "They have graciously offered to play us to allow for our seniors to experience their last high school game. They could only play on Saturday so that they would be in compliance with the MIAA rule regarding games in a week."

ESPNBoston.com's State Semifinal Hoop Picks

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
1:58
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EASTERN MASS. FINALS

Boys

D1: Mansfield (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (21-5)
Brendan Hall: Whatever the fourth-quarter lead is, you might as well double it. Both squads are terrific finishing teams. Still, it’s hard for me to go against The Illuminati. Pick: Mansfield
Chris Bradley: The way Central Catholic is playing defensively, they can’t be beaten by anybody in the state. Tyler Nelson is on another level from pretty much any guard in the state in terms of playmaking, while his backcourt mate Lucas Hammel is great on-ball defender. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Brighton (19-6) vs. Scituate (21-3)
Hall: Last month I said that whoever came out of the D2 North tournament would be battle-tested enough to run the table. Brighton came back stronger than ever after last season’s disappointment, and they are playing as well as any right now. Malik James has been playing his way into Super Team consideration at this current clip. Pick: Brighton
Bradley: Brighton’s toughest tests of the Division 2 tournament have passed—the Bengals beat Melrose and North Andover, two of the best teams in the state. A great season by Scituate, but I can’t see any of the teams left in the Division 2 field hanging with Brighton. Pick: Brighton

D3: Danvers (22-2) vs. Martha’s Vineyard (18-5)
Hall: Save a bad weekend at the Comcast Tournament, Falcons have survived every test given to them this season. With the Vineyard, there is always the element of the great unknown. We know the Vineyarders can run, but so can the Falcons. Pick: Danvers
Bradley: What a run by the Vineyard, beating Wareham in the D3 South final. That being said, Danvers has proven that they are hands-down the best team in the state. Expect a few treys each from Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, and Vinny Clifford. Pick: Danvers

Lynnfield (16-7) vs. Bishop Connolly (18-6)
Hall: Pulling for Scott Barboza’s alma mater to get some hardware here. Pick: Connolly
Bradley: Connolly has a slew of quick, athletic guards who can score and put a lot of pressure on opposing teams defensively. I foresee Lynnfield struggling with that pressure. Pick: Bishop Connolly

Girls

D1: Braintree (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (20-5)
Hall: Defense wins championships, and the Wamps have one of the best defensive players around in Bay State Conference MVP Bridget Herlihy. Four of the Wamps’ five starters are sophomores or younger, including Herlihy, yet this is one of the tallest lineups in the state. Gonna be fun to watch this crew the next few years. Pick: Braintree.
Bradley: Make it another sweep for Central Catholic boys and girls in the state semifinals. I’m calling upset here, expect a huge game from Casey McLaughlin. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Reading (23-0) vs. Medfield (24-2)
Hall: Would be cool to see one of the state’s finest athletes Jen Narlee bring home a state title in two sports this calendar year, but you don’t get to 48 straight wins without some role players stepping up. Rockets’ workhorse Olivia Healy will get hers, but the hero will once again be someone else. Pick: Reading
Bradley: Well, I don’t have the guts to pick against an Olivia Healy-led team. Anybody who does--feel free to raise your hand. Pick: Reading

D3: Archbishop Williams (21-5) vs. Pentucket (24-1)
Hall: Does this qualify as an upset if I go with Pentucket? Sachems have been quietly waiting in the grass all season long. Monday night, they will strike with a first-round haymaker. Pick: Pentucket
Bradley: A great run by Archbishop Williams here in the final stretch of the season. I know this has been a highly-anticipated matchup all year, but I’m going to pick what some may call the “upset” and go with Pentucket, but expect an absolute thriller Pick: Pentucket

D4: Fenway (14-7) vs. Greater New Bedford (20-4)
Hall: Tajanay Veiga-Lee was the hero last year against this same GNB squad, but I like the Bears getting their revenge Monday night. Pick: Greater New Bedford
Bradley: Fenway's girls are battle-tested and on quite a roll right now, as they've won seven games in a row. Pick: Fenway

***

CENTRAL/WEST FINALS

Boys

D1: Springfield Putnam (22-1) vs. Milford (20-3)
Hall: I love the way Putnam plays so inspired, and their whipping of Springfield Central in Saturday's D1 West Final might be the Beavers' high water mark of the season. Look for big games out of KayJuan Bynum and David Murrell. Pick: Putnam
Bradley: Putnam has more talent and more speed than Milford, but during their tournament run the Hawks have displayed the type of toughness and poise that it takes to go to the state finals. Milford doesn’t have a go-to guy, but they have a team full of kids who aren’t afraid to take the big shot-which is why they’ll beat Putnam and give Central a run for their money in the state finals. Pick: Milford

D2: St. Bernard's (19-4) vs. South Hadley (16-7)
Hall: Bernardians made it this far last year, only to meet a disappointing end. They're back again, and more determined. Pick: St. Bernard's
Bradley: The Bernardians will have a significant size advantage, as well as one of the better scorers in Division 2 in John Crawley. Count on St. Bernard’s to punch their ticket into the D2 state finals. Pick: St. Bernard's

D3: Smith Academy (21-3) vs. Littleton (24-1)
Hall:
Here's a team we missed the boat on. Smith took the D3 field by storm, and from what I understand they're a loaded bunch. I like their chances in this one. Pick: Smith Academy
Bradley: Littleton hasn't lost a game since December, thanks mainly to a high-scoring attack and exceptional play from senior guard Chris Murray. They certainly weren't the favorite in a tough D3 Central field, but they made it out alive. Pick: Littleton

Girls

D1: Holy Name (22-2) vs. Chicopee (16-7)
Hall: Junior center and Providence commit Brianna Frias is a monster on the boards, and my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Long-time Naps coach Barry Finneron has his best shot at a state title in a while. Pick: Holy Name
Bradley: Holy Name is on quite the run and couldn’t be any higher emotionally after absolutely blowing out Wachusett in the D1 Central final. Sophomore Gigi Gunther is a future star. Pick: Holy Name

D2: Nashoba (21-2) vs. Hoosac Valley (19-5)
Hall: Going with strength of schedule in this one, and the Chieftains delivered powerhouse Tyngsborough its first-ever loss within Central Mass. to get to this stage. Pick: Nashoba
Bradley: All five of Nashoba’s starters could be considered go-to scorers, they’ve had such an even scoring attack all year. Their balance offensively is going to give Hoosac plenty of problems. Pick: Nashoba

D3: Lee (18-5) vs. University Park (23-1)
Hall: Death, taxes, and the Lee Wildcats on the DCU Center floor competing for a state title. Pick: Lee
Bradley: Lee is clicking at the right time, beating favored power Sabis in the Western Mass. Division 3 finals. Not only that, Stephanie Young has shown several times this year that she can break 20 or 25 on any given night. Pick: Lee

Central, Dorchester return to boys hoop poll

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
10:10
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We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 boys basketball poll this afternoon. To see the full poll, CLICK HERE.

(NOTE: Tuesday's results were not reflected in this week's poll)

A few notes and observations:

Returns for Springfield Central, Dorchester: After a strong two-game swing at last weekend's Hoophall Classic, capped by outstanding performances from big men Kamari Robinson and Chris Baldwin in wins over West Springfield and Manchester (Conn.), Springfield Central is back in the poll after falling all the way out a month ago. The Golden Eagles were our preseason No. 1 in the land, coming off their first Division 1 state championship since 1991 last March, but were sluggish out of the gates, starting the season 2-2. Since then, they've reeled off six straight, and have looked every bit the team that was much-hyped in the preseason.

Dorchester is also making a return to the polls this week, for the first time in nearly a month. The Bears upset Madison Park on Dec. 21, and came into the polls soon after to make it a record six Boston City League teams in the poll. But that stint was short-lived, dropping back out following losses to Melrose and Cambridge. The Bears face East Boston tomorrow night in what should be the most-anticipated Boston City League tilt of the week.

Debuts for Melrose, St. Bernard's: Three teams are making their season debuts -- one from Eastern Mass. (Melrose) and one from Central Mass. (St. Bernard's). Melrose is making a strong case in the strength of schedule department; the Warriors put together solid 15-point wins this season over both Wakefield and Dorchester. St. Bernard's is coming off a solid Thursday night win over Whitinsville Christian, which itself beat St. Peter-Marian by 15 earlier in the week. The Bernardians' lone blemishes on the season are losses to St. John's of Shrewsbury and the aforementioned SPM.

With St. John's (17) and SPM (23) also in this week's poll, that makes a record-tying three Central Mass. Conference teams in the poll this week. Last season, Holy Name, SPM and St. John's all saw action in the poll at once.

Putnam makes the leap: At the midway point of the season, Springfield Putnam has separated itself as the top team in Western Mass., the latest example a 16-point win over Sci-Tech at the Hoophall Classic. The Beavers jumped up nine spots, to No. 13, as a result of the win. Putnan faces West Springfield on Thursday night in a battle of two of the top squads in the region; West Side fell five spots this week to No. 21, following its loss to Central at the Hoophall.

Here's how the poll breaks down this week by league affiliation:

Boston City League - 4
Merrimack Valley - 4
Central Mass. Conference - 3
Catholic Conference - 2
Hockomock - 2
Middlesex - 2
Valley Wheel - 2
Bay State - 1
Big Three - 1
Mid-Wach A - 1
Northeastern - 1
Valley League - 1
South Coast - 1

MIAA Sectional Hoop Finals: Picks Reset

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
6:22
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Last month, prior to the MIAA Basketball Tournament seedings, I listed a number of teams in each division to be considered true contenders for the state championship. One week later, on the first day of the MIAA tournament, I went a little deeper and made my predictions for each of the 14 boys basketball brackets.

Conveniently, this has been one of the wildest MIAA tournaments in recent years. Last night, No. 1 seeds Central Catholic and North Andover went down in their respective brackets; that adds to a number of other contenders getting knocked out, including King Philip, Cardinal Spellman, Falmouth, Catholic Memorial, BC High, Holy Name and Manchester-Essex.

The next 48 hours figure to be just as crazy. We'll be covering all 12 of Saturday's North and South sectional finals, as well as Sunday's Division 1 Central final between St. John's (Shrewsbury) and St. Peter-Marian, so be sure to stick with us throughout the weekend.

For now, I've gone back and hit the reset button on my pre-tournament picks. Here's how I think Saturday and Sunday's slate will turn out.

(NOTE: Division 4 Finals are being played tonight)

BOYS PICKS

Division 1 North
Charlestown (19-4) vs. Lexington (17-7)
Nobody could have predicted this for a final -- and if you did, I have a time warp I'd like to sell you. After some early struggles, the Minutemen have picked up the slack under second-year coach Reggie Hobbs, beating Boston Latin, Westford and Acton-Boxborough in succession to get here. But with Central Catholic and A-B out of the way, the Townies have a clearer path. Expect another big game from Tyrese Hoxter and Co. Pick: Charlestown

Division 2 North
Wakefield (17-6) vs. Brighton (19-4)
Reports of Brighton's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Once thought to be stumbling following the loss of star forward Nick Simpson and subsequent early exit from City Championships, the Bengals have roared to life behind Daivon Edwards and Malik James. Ditto for Wakefield, which came into this tournament a mystery, but has suddenly put the state on notice after knocking off No. 1 overall seed North Andover last night. Pick: Brighton

Division 3 North
Danvers (18-4) vs. Saugus (14-9)
I said this was Danvers' bracket to lose at the beginning of this tournament, and the Falcons have done nothing to prove me otherwise. Saugus beat red-hot Arlington Catholic by 16 last night to advance to the finals, but I still think George Merry will provide too much of a matchup problem. Pick: Danvers

Division 1 South
Brockton (21-2) vs. Madison Park (19-2)
True, the MP Machine is the No. 2 seed in this bracket, but how many predicted the Cardinals would make it this far? Brockton has had some close calls, such as Wednesday's semifinal win over Newton North. But as they showed in their quarterfinal against Catholic Memorial, they can turn it on in a snap. The key here might come down to depth, where I think the Boxers hold an advantage. Excited to see the big-man matchup between Brockton's Sayvonn Houston and MP's Dakim Murray -- two true post players who are among the region's most physical. Pick: Brockton

Division 2 South
Stoughton (19-4) vs. Hopkinton (17-6)
Beware Hopkinton's dribble-drive motion. Just ask King Philip, which succumbed to the Hillers in last year's D2 South Final and again in this year's quarterfinals. We all know about Stoughton's athletic prowess, spearheaded by one of the state's best backcourts in juniors Aaron Calixte and Marcus Middleton. But do not sleep on the Hillers' point guard Barrett Hanlon, a two-time Tri-Valley League MVP who has been terrific this postseason. Pick: Stoughton

Division 3 South
Wareham (23-0) vs. Martha's Vineyard (21-2)
Between Wareham's dogged waterbug point guard Darien Fernandez and Vineyard's electric junior Jack Roberts, this could be one of the day's fastest games. The Vikings are constantly uptempo -- and have one of the state's best lead guards in Fernandez, to do the damage -- while the Vineyarders can run off points in bunches pretty quickly. The key might come down to foul trouble -- Tyler Gomes was the star for Wareham in the semifinals, but they can't afford to have Fernandez on the bench for long stretches again. Pick: Wareham

Division 1 Central
St. John's of Shrewsbury (18-5) vs. St. Peter-Marian (19-5)
If St. John's wins again, for an unprecedented fifth straight Central Mass. title, they may have to rename this tournament the Bob Foley Memorial Bracket. Again and again, Foley's troops have proven that no matter the personnel, bodies graduated, or overall record, they can win out as long as they get in. SPM's Matt Mobley will likely command a sophisticated defensive look, which is why the Guardians' bigs like Steve Flynn and Brian Foley are going to need to be in peak form. Pick: St. John's

Division 2 Central
Quabbin (20-3) vs. St. Bernard's (14-10)
Once one of the state's few remaining unbeatens, Quabbin lost three games but won the Clark Tournament to give themselves some momentum headed into this bracket. It's paid off, as the Panthers have beaten opponents by an average of 24 points in the tournament. Either way, this should be a terrific coaching matchup, between Quabbin's Dennis Dextradeur and St. Bernard's Mark Pierce. Pick: Quabbin

Division 3 Central
Whitinsville Christian (16-5) vs. Littleton (18-6)
Another bracket where I initially pegged a top seed as an overwhelming favorite, and nothing has convinced me to think otherwise. Sorry Littleton, but WC has been playing some of its best basketball, beating each of its opponents by 17 points or more in this tournament. Pick: Whitinsville Christian

Division 1 West
Springfield Central (21-1) vs. Springfield Commerce (16-6)
In these two teams' first matchup, Central survived a tough one, 52-43. When they met three weeks ago, Tyrell Springer nailed four 3-pointers in the second quarter and Central blew out the Red Raiders by nearly 40. I don't think that will happen again, but like Brockton, Central can turn it up in a hurry -- just ask West Springfield, which led Central by three after the first quarter of Wednesday's semifinal, only to lose by 27. Pick: Springfield Central

Division 2 West
South Hadley (13-9) vs. Mahar (19-3)
South Hadley's nine losses are misleading. They earned the No. 2 overall seed in this field, and beat their first two opponents by an average of 17 points. Can Mahar, which survived an overtime thriller to get here, buck the Tigers' trend? Pick: South Hadley

Division 3 West
St. Joseph Central (18-5) vs. Lee (18-5)
This is a St. Joe's team that nearly beat Holy Name back in December, and while I admit I haven't seen too much of this field, I like their chances. An average margin of victory of 26 points so far in this tournament backs this assertion up. Pick: St. Joseph Central

GIRLS PICKS

Division 1 North
Andover (24-0) vs. Masconomet (20-3)
Again, as good as Masco has been in this tournament -- getting Super Team production out of William & Mary signee Brooke Stewart, and great complimentary play from junior Claudia Marsh -- the freight train that is Andover and All-Everything guard Nicole Boudreau will continue to roll its way through. But unlike some of the Golden Warriors' earlier tournament results, I expect the Chieftains to throw haymakers and take the Warriors to the ropes. Pick: Andover

Division 2 North
Reading (22-0) vs. Arlington Catholic (21-3)
Another juggernaut matchup in the fold here. Both teams have gone through some dominant stretches, and AC is the defending state champion here. But the Rockets are a year wiser after last season's disappointing end, and behind Olivia Healy and Morgan O'Brien this team rattles off points in bunches. Pick: Reading

Division 3 North
Pentucket (20-4) vs. Ipswich (18-4)
Win or lose, this is a major step forward for the Ipswich program under head coach Mandy Zegarowski. Unfortunately, their reward is running into the Pentucket machine. Sachems are rolling on defense, allowing just 28 points per game in the playoffs with an average margin of victory of 27 points. So tell me...what's new? Pick: Pentucket

Division 1 South
Franklin (21-2) vs. Braintree (21-2)
Led by senior Paige Marshall, Braintree is playing arguably the state's most inspired defense. Consider the Wamps allowed just eight points -- that's eight points total -- in their first-round win, and are allowing just 22.6 points per game and the playoffs. Will that be enough for Catie Phelan to overcome, or are the defensive stats misleading? Pick: Braintree

Division 2 South
Scituate (23-0) vs. Natick (18-5)
Will Lady Luck run out on Natick, or are the Red and Blue better than we projected? Either way, this is one tough Scituate squad they're about to encounter. The Lady Sailors haven't allowed an opponent to get out of the 30's in nearly a month, and routinely pick up 40 or more rebounds a game. Pick: Scituate

Division 3 South
Archbishop Williams (20-5) vs. Fairhaven (21-2)
Kara Charette will get her points for Fairhaven, but we have to wonder if it it will be enough to overcome Archies' size, which is among the state's biggest. The Bishops are green, but talented, and are playing some terrific defense right now. Pick: Archbishop Williams

Division 1 Central
Holy Name (22-0) vs. Wachusett (17-5)
After some close calls, Holy Name's magical season lives on. The Mountaineers might be Holy Name's toughest opponent to date, and are one of the region's longest. Look for the Naps to key on Bri Schnare and Shannon Holt. Pick: Wachusett

Division 2 Central
Tyngsborough (21-1) vs. Nashoba (20-2)
The top two seeds of this bracket go head-to-head, and it's hard to tell which team has been more dominant so far. The Tigers, who have allowed just 30 points a game in this bracket; or Nashoba, which has had an easier path but has won each game by double-digits. Probably can't go wrong with this one. Pick: Tyngsborough

Division 3 Central
Sutton (19-4) vs. Hopedale (18-4)
Another matchup that is even on paper. But when you knock off Quaboag, that's big points in my book. Pick: Sutton

Division 1 West
Holyoke (20-2) vs. Longmeadow (15-7)
5-foot-2 point guard Monique Heard is the most exciting player nobody in Eastern Mass. is talking about, and a potential Super Team candidate for Holyoke. I like a good story as much as the next scribe. Let's keep this one rolling. Pick: Holyoke

Division 2 West
Mahar (21-1) vs. Palmer (18-4)
Another matchup pitting the bracket's top two seeds against one another. Mahar has survived some gutsy close calls to get here, but beware of Palmer's stingy defense, which is allowing 32 points per game. Pick: Mahar

Division 3 West
Lenox (18-4) vs. Sabis (19-5)
Sabis no doubt has revenge on its mind -- and some unfinished business -- after coming up short in this bracket last year following a dominant regular season. But any time you knock off Lee -- the region's top seed, and the golden standard for Western Mass. small-school basketball since the 1980's -- that's big points in my book. Pick: Lenox

MIAA girls' hockey Top 25 poll update

January, 9, 2012
1/09/12
5:34
PM ET
The ESPN Boston MIAA girls' hockey Top 25 poll has been updated here.

There was movement through the Top 10, with Acton-Boxborough exacting some revenge on Hingham for last year's Division 1 state final defeat. The Colonials moved to No. 3 while the Harborwomen fell to No. 4. Meanwhile, Norwood made the biggest leap of the season, charging from No. 25 to No. 10 after a couple of Bay State upsets over Braintree and Dedham.

Two teams made their Top 25 debuts with Falmouth and Gardner/St. Bernard's checking in at No. 23 and 24, respectively.

Report: Cosenza stepping down at Fitchburg

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
9:47
AM ET
The Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg and Telegram & Gazette of Worcester are reporting this morning that legendary Fitchburg High head football coach Ray Cosenza is calling it a career with the Red Raiders.

Cosenza, who will continue as Fitchburg's athletic director, hangs it up with a career record of 194-116-1 in 29 years at Fitchburg and cross-town St. Bernard's High. His last 23 years were on the Fitchburg sideline, in which he went 165-95-1 and led the Raiders to 10 Suepr Bowl appearances, winning three (1991, 1996 and 2000).

Cosenza, 53, told reporters that he made his decision to step down over the summer, and told his staff in their first meeting before the season. He asked them to keep the news private, so as not to take attention away from the players.

"I'm very comfortable with this decision," Cosenza told the Sentinel's Chad Garner. "I have no regrets. I just felt like it was time. It's been a tough couple of weeks emotionally, obviously. I know how much I'll miss (coaching), and I'll miss the kids and the staff. I've been fortunate to coach at the greatest place in the world."

Mr. Football Watch: Week 9

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
11:26
AM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - The Patriots scored on their first three plays from scrimmage in a 38-21 defeat of Weston, taking a 22-0 lead after five minutes and going up 38-0 at the half. Once again, short night of work for Craan, who scored his 15th rushing touchdown of the season.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw for six touchdown passes in a 41-14 rout of Medford and broke the state all-time record (85) in the process, completing 9 of 12 passes for 209 yards. He now has 88 career touchdown passes, and will likely have five more games to eclipse the century mark.
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica - In the Indians' 40-30 barnburner over Lowell, was 15 of 28 passing for 233 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for 112 yards and another score.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Ran for 144 yards and a score in the Golden Eagles' 41-12 win over Agawam.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Accounted for three scores in the Dolphins' 28-0 shutout of Plymouth South, completing 9 of 15 passes for 146 yards and a score, and rushing for 81 yards and two more scores.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Carried the ball 15 times for 140 yards and four scores in the Lancers' 42-7 rout of Westfield.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - In the Green Dragons' 34-7 win over Silver Lake, the Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was 16 of 25 passing for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - In the Beavers' 48-0 shutout of Amherst, ran for 224 yards and four scores, as they outgained the Hurricanes 500-51 in yards of offense.
Armani Reeves, Sr. RB/WR, Catholic Memorial - In the Knights' 26-7 win over St. John's Prep, the Penn State commit amassed 238 all-purpose yards. He ran for 98 yards and a score on eight carries, returned a punt 72 yards to the house, and hauled in a 34-yard catch.
Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB, Bridgewater-Raynham - Ran for 132 yards and a touchdown, part of 346 total yards on the ground by the Trojans, in a 30-6 win over Dartmouth.
Cody Titus, Sr. RB, St. Bernard's - Eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the second time this season, on 29 carries, in a 40-32 loss to Narragansett.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - Easy night for Walsh in the Knights' 34-6 win over Revere, completing all three of his pass attempts for 28 yards and running in two touchdowns.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - In the Big Blue's 47-14 thrashing of Danvers, was 12 of 20 passing for 245 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried 10 times for 68 yards and two more scores, and from his safety spot on defense recorded three tackles and an interception.

ON THE RISE

Chris Bettano, Sr. RB, Tewksbury - Carried 32 times for 158 yards and two scores, and ran in the winning two-point conversion in overtime, in a 26-24 thriller over Methuen.
Shane Blass, Sr. RB, Walpole - Racked up 207 yards rushing and two scores on just nine carries, in a 34-0 blanking of Newton North.
Ozzy Colarusso, Jr. WR, Weymouth - Hauled in three touchdown passes and ran in a fourth score, in a 47-7 win over Braintree.
Jamison Craft, Sr. RB, Gardner - Carried 19 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-0 shutout of Lunenburg.
Brian Dunlap, Fr. WR, Natick - We know Dunlap, who ranks second in the state in touchdown receptions (11), can catch. In the 49-24 win over Needham, he hauled in two catches for 51 yards, but he also carried 12 times for 69 yards and three scores to pace the REd and Blue.
Dan Flink, Sr. RB, Auburn - The bulldozer carried 14 times for 75 yards and five touchdowns -- all in the first half -- in the Rockets' 42-14 rout of Grafton.
Troy Flutie, Soph. QB, Natick - In the Red and Blue's 49-24 win over Needham, completed 11 of 14 passes for 181 yards and two scores; he also ran for 124 yards and two more scores on 23 carries.
Jake Frechette, Sr. RB, Holliston - The four-year starter became the Panthers' all-time leading rusher following Friday's 35-13 rout of Millis/Hopedale, carrying 19 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug - In the Falcons' 35-12 win over Holyoke, he completed 17 of 22 passes (to eight different receivers) for 143 yards and three total touchdowns.
Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr. FB/DT, Xaverian - He's becoming a household name for his work on the defensive side of the ball. But it was his work carrying the ball in Saturday's 27-9 win over St. John's of Shrewsbury that had everyone talking, with 126 yards and two scores on nine carries -- including a 75-yard scamper.
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth - Threw five touchdown passes in a 47-7 rout of Braintree, bringing his season total to a state-best 30.
Marcus Odiah, Jr. RB, Burlington - Carried 12 times for 196 yards and three touchdowns, in a 44-12 rout of Watertown.
Quron Wright, Jr. RB, Holy Name - The pint-sized scatback ran for a career-high 226 yards in a 33-14 win over Algonquin.

What We Learned: Week 6

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
12:15
AM ET
LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BAY STATE
It isn't the be-all, end-all of the debate, but two Massachusetts teams came away with big victories over two out-of-state No. 1's.

No, we're not here to trumpet that Massachusetts is better than any other New England state because the top teams of New Hampshire and Rhode Island fell to Bay State foes, however, both games were telling.

The Granite State's top team, Pinkerton Academy, a juggernaut of a football team by all intents, was knocked off by a down, but feisty Brockton team. In one feel swoop, the Boxers showed that they shouldn't be written off so easily, while the Astros failed to dispatch what was considered a lesser opponent.

Similarly, the reigning No. 1 Ocean State team, La Salle Academy, took on a Top 10 Massachusetts-based opponent in Bridgewater-Raynham. The Trojans also knocked off their out-of-state guests.

Again, this isn't to take anything away from the Astros or the Rams; they're both fine football teams. However, we've heard a lot of buzz about Pinkerton in particular as being deserving of the top spot in our New England Top 10 poll.

While both the Astros and Rams have more than held their own against in-state competition, in matters of stacking up the states again each other, the Bay State takes this round.

A NOT-SO BALLYHOOED ACHIEVEMENT
Winning 200 games is much a credit to consistency as it is simply being good. So it came as no surprise when we heard that Dighton-Rehoboth head coach Dave Driscoll recorded his 200th career football in a rather ugly 7-0 win over South Coast Conference foe Wareham, that the Falcons' boss wasn't exactly overjoyed.

"I don't know if I can get any more white hair,"Driscoll told David Carty of The Sun Chronicle. "We're 3-0 in the league and that's what I remember."

It's a typical reaction from a coach who expects a lot out of his teams and rightfully so, as the Falcons are coming off a playoff appearance last year.

Again, the benchmark is a testament to the type of program Driscoll has built, not only in football in his 31 years, but also with D-R softball (a perennial D-1 state powerhouse). And, while Driscoll might not have been thrilled with his team's latest performance, that's something worth celebrating.

WELCOME TO THE 400 CLUB
St. Bernard’s running back Cody Titus is the latest Massachusetts back to join the elusive 400-Yard Club, after rushing for a state-record 436 yards and five touchdowns on 34 carries, as the Bernardians pulled back to .500 in a 33-14 win over Littleton.

That breaks the mark of 425 set back in 2001 by Lynn English’s Brandon Guy, and also does one better of the other running back to break 400 this season; Springfield Putnam’s Melquawn Pinkney ran for a Western Mass-record 421 yards in a 66-0 rout of Agawam back in Week 3.

Unlike the sleek Pinkney, who beats you with shifty jukes and deceptive breakaway speed, Titus embraces contact, and is at his best pounding it between the hashes in spite of his skinny frame.

“Honestly, Cody loves to run, he’s a North-South guy,” said head coach Tom Bingham (who by the way, as a former lineman at UMaine, can tell you a thing or two about toughness). “Very rarely do you see him stop and move. Everything he does is going forward. For not a big back, he really…he would prefer to run between the tackles than to toss the ball outside.”

Even more staggering are his midseason totals: 180 carries, 1,465 yards, 16 rushing touchdowns. That’s an average of 8.1 yards per carry; but even moreso, the senior is on track to carry the ball well over 300 times. A few weeks ago, Titus recorded 51 carries. To compensate, they’ve relieved him of his “Rover” duties on defense, only inserting him into Prevent packages.

Worries about wear and tear? In the words of the legendary Bum Philips, “Why? He ain’t that heavy.”

“We truly went in with the game plan to spread it around a little more,” Bingham laughed of last weekend’s gameplan. “But it’s very hard not to give him the ball when you feel like he can break one at any time.”

As for the defense, Bingham continued, “His carries have made us make a decision there. You know honestly he’s the type of kid – I know you hear this sometimes – but the more he gets the ball…you look at his runs early versus later in the game, the more he gets the ball, the more he finds a groove.”

CENTRAL BACK ON THE MAP
Springfield Central’s Valdamar Brower has to be on any short list for Coach of the Year.

Based largely on the near-Super Bowl champion success of last season with a young team, and the return of preseason All-State tailback Sacoy Malone, the Golden Eagles came into the preseason ranked No. 20 in our statewide MIAA poll. But they stumbled early out of the gates, dropping a 20-13 decision to Putnam and Mr. Football contender Melquawn Pinkney in Week 1, followed by a 42-13 drubbing by No. 1 Everett the next week.

Several seniors, including incumbent quarterback Tyler Dowd, had quit after the Putnam loss. This was once again a young team looking for direction. But before long, the Eagles were revved up again, capped last Saturday night with a thrilling 21-20 upset of Longmeadow, snapping the Lancers’ 52-game conference winning streak.

Leading the way was Malone, with 194 yards on the ground and two scores, and planting the winning points was sophomore quarterback Cody Williams, who struck a nine-yard touchdown pass to Richard Williams in the third quarter. For their efforts, the Eagles come in this week at No. 18, back in the poll for the first time since the preseason.

Never one to get too high on emotion, the former UMass All-Conference defensive end played it close to the chest in his post-game comments.

“There’s a lot of emotions around here,” Brower told ESPNBoston correspondent Michael Wood. “It’s very great for our school and our program to have a win against the great program Longmeadow has been building over the years. Last season was tough. So there’s a lot of emotions, but we’re very lucky and we beat a really great program tonight.”

Let’s hope these two teams meet again in the Division 1 Western Mass playoffs.

ROLL TIDE
Maybe Rene Rancourt’s national anthem had something to do with it.

“Did you see me doing the double-pump with him?” Everett head coach John DiBiaso gleamed of hearing the long-time Bruins anthem singer showed up for the Crimson Tide’s homecoming game, a 42-21 decision over Xaverian.

After preening and prodding for six weeks, this is the breakout the Tide were looking for: 565 total yards of offense, including 308 from his quarterback and son Jonathan, and a career-high 203 yards from running back Vondell Langston.

Even more importantly, the Tide have found another go-to receiver to take pressure off of hard-hitting junior Kenny Calaj. Junior Jalen Felix caught 10 passes for 145 yards and a score, making defenders miss left and right with an arsenal of hip shakes and cut-backs.

Even the elder DiBiaso had to concede this was a good day.

"We had a couple of bumps in the road, but I thought we did a good job,” he said. “They're a good team. The way I said it, we were maybe two holding penalties and an interception away from scoring 60 points.

"That -- how can you complain? How can you, like, say 'Jeez, you know, we're not playing'...We're like three plays away from 60 points against a real good team. We're hitting all cylinders, getting better and better at it. The one thing we were able to do was balance out the plays now."

Linebacker Buck McCarthy is lost for the season, after having surgery last week to place three screws and a plate in his broken left fibula. And while he’s irreplaceable as the mike and the defensive captain, you have to like the way the Tide are rolling headed into Saturday’s monster matchup with BC High.

(Spoiler Alert: This may or may not be our game of the week. Tune in later in the week for a special treat)

Player of the Week: St. B's Cody Titus

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
6:26
PM ET
FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Just when you thought things couldn't have gotten any wilder in the first half of the 2011 season, St. Bernard's running back Cody Titus comes out and does something nobody's ever done before.

[+] EnlargeCody Titus
Brendan Hall for ESPN.comSt. Bernard's running back Cody Titus is our Player of the Week after rushing for a state-record 436 yards in a 33-14 win over Littleton.
The senior workhorse ran for a state-record 436 yards on 34 carries and five touchdowns, as the Bernardians rolled to a 33-14 win over Littleton. Titus breaks the previous record of 425 yards set back in 2001 by Lynn English's Brandon Guy (Springfield Putnam's Melquawn Pinkney came within four of the record in Week 3, if you can recall).

That puts an exclamation point on what has been a very nice first half of 2011 for Titus. Through the first six games, the 3-3 Bernardians have been riding their power horse, and the numbers show: 180 carries, 1,465 yards (second-best in state) and 16 rushing touchdowns.

We caught up with Titus prior to Monday's practice at the Bernardian Bow:


Mr. Football Watch: Week 7

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
12:21
PM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Part of a three-headed rushing attack in Friday's 61-14 stomping of Westford, carried 10 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High - Ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' 32-0 shutout of Marlborough.
Casey DeAndrade, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - On just four carries, totaled 179 yards and three scores, as the Vikings cruised to a 42-14 defeat of Carver.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw for 308 yards, and added 55 on the ground, totaling three scores in the No. 1 Crimson Tide's 42-21 win over Xaverian. He is now four touchdown passes off the state's all-time mark of 85.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Carried 26 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' 21-20 upset of Longmeadow.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - In the Dolphins' 14-0 shutout of Marshfield, carried 22 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, and also added 82 yards through the air on 6 of 13 passing.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - In the loss to Central, carried 26 times for 170 yards and all three of the Lancers' scores.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - Was 11 of 20 passing for 191 yards and a touchdown in the Dragons' 21-0 blanking of Scituate.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Another week, another monster performance. He carried 31 times for 297 yards and five touchdowns in the Beavers' 56-14 win over Springfield Cathedral. Through six games, he leads the state in rushing yards (1,526) and rushing touchdowns (24).
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - Carried 23 times for 147 yards and two scores in the Warriors' 19-7 win over North Attleborough.
Cody Titus, Sr. RB, St. Bernard's - Remember our "400 Rule"? Well, this kid just became a contender after rushing for a state-record 436 yards on 34 carries for five touchdowns in the Bernardians' 33-14 win over Littleton. Through six games he's carried 180 times for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - Totaled five scores, including a 26-yard interception return, in the Knights' 46-0 shutout of Philips Andover.
Don Webber, Sr. WR, Duxbury - Caught seven passes for 109 yards in the Dragons' 21-0 win over Scituate.

ON THE RISE

Drew Burnett, Sr. QB, Needham - Completed 8 of 11 passes for 290 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-14 rout of Milton, but unfortunately that will be his last. He left the game with a broken ankle, and is done for the season.
Jamison Craft, Sr. RB, Gardner - Put in a workmanlike 27 carries for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 28-7 win over Tyngsborough.
Tyquan Culbreath, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - In the Patriots' 61-14 thrashing of Westford, gave them a jump early with 130 yards and four scores on just six carries.
Jalen Felix, Sr. WR, Everett - A breakout game to say the least, caught 10 balls for 145 yards and a score in the Tide's 42-21 win over Xaverian.
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug - In the Falcons' 39-14 win over Agawam, he was 23 of 37 passing for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
Vondell Langston, Sr. RB, Everett - Ran for a career-high 203 yards and two scores on 15 carries in the Tide's 42-21 win over Xaverian.
Zack Jackson, Sr. RB, Amherst - Accumulated 282 yards of offense, including 228 on the ground, and two scores in a 44-41 win over Chicopee Comp.
R.J. Noel, Sr. QB, Lowell - Threw for 189 yards and totaled four scores in the Red Raiders' 42-15 rout of Central Catholic.
Mark Riley, Sr. TE, Needham - Hauled in three touchdown passes in the Rockets' 49-14 rout of Milton.
Eddie Sheridan, Jr. RB, Chelmsford - Led the Lions' rushing attack with 145 yards and three scores on 20 carries, in a 48-28 win over Andover.
Jonathan Thomas, Soph. RB, St. John's Prep - Exploded for 235 yards and three scores on 27 carries in the Eagles' 41-20 rout of St. John's (Shrewsbury).

Saturday's Bay State Games results

July, 17, 2011
7/17/11
1:02
PM ET
Courtesy of Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

BASKETBALL

Boys Scholastic 11/12 Grade
Emmanuel College – Boston, MA

Southeast 103, Metro 77
Sayvonn Houston (Brockton, Brockton HS) poured in 37 points to propel Southeast to a 103-77 win over Metro. Jaleel Moise (Brockton, Brockton HS) and Jon Perez (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) added 20 and 19 points respectively for the winners. Metro had three players in double figures led by Kenny Ramos’s (Mattapan, East Boston HS) 14 points. Adam Zakaria (Arlington, Arlington HS) and Paul Brooles (Arlington, Arlington HS) chipped in with 12 apiece.

Coastal vs Northeast
Coastal declared winner due to a Northeast forfeit.

West 78, Central 54
West ran away with a 78-54 victory over Central. For the winners, Jesse LeCroix (Orange, Mahar HS) led all scorers with 26. Casy White (Easthampton, Easthampton HS) and Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) netted 14 apiece. Central’s Matt Kneece (Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury HS) paced his squad with 16 points.

Coastal 104, Southeast 97
Chris Green (Taunton, Taunton HS) tallied 30 points to help Coastal edge Southeast, 104-97, in a fast-paced, offensive battle. Nelson Baptiste (Falmouth, Falmouth HS) contributed to the assault with 22, and Andrew Kenyon (Swansea, Case HS) put up 20. Southeast big man Sayvonn Houston (Brockton, Brockton HS) led all scorers with 33. His teammates, Damien Lugay (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) and Jon Perez (Weymouth, Weymouth HS), added 18 and 14 points, respectively.

Northeast vs Central
Central declared winner due to a Northeast forfeit.

West 109, Metro 63
West had two players score more than 20 points as they destroyed Metro 109-63. Metro kept the game tied at 18 through the first quarter. However, West came alive in the second, scoring 36 points, and went into halftime leading 54-33. In the second half, West forward Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) netted 21 of his 23 points and was the game’s leading scorer. West guard Jesse LeCroix (Orange, Mahar HS) added 22 points of his own. Metro’s Mo Magras (Medford, Medford HS) tallied 12 points and led the team in scoring.

Boys Scholastic 9/10 Grade
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA

Metro 65, Southeast 62
Metro defeated Southeast 65-62 in a close game that went down to the final minutes. Metro scored early and had an 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, Southeast pulled within two at the half. Going into the fourth quarter they were tied at 48. Southeast guards Jonathan Joseph (Brockton, Brockton HS) and Andrew Reardon (North Easton, Oliver Ames HS) combined for seven of the team’s final 13 points. Guard Lutjy Mondesir (Brockton, Brockton HS) led the team with 10 points, while Metro’s Tyler Sullivan (Arlington, Arlington HS) led all scorers with 16 points.

West 65, Northeast 40
West played a balanced game and limited its mistakes in a 65-40 win over Northeast. West forward Justin Crosby (Westfield, Westfield HS) scored a team-high 12 points while guard Kamil Stasiowski (Palmer, Palmer HS) added another nine points in the second half. Northeast shooting guard Jordan Mendez (Salem, North Shore Tech) led all scorers with 18 points, 15 of which he scored in the second half.

Coastal 67, Central 46
Coastal’s defense limited Central to five first quarter points on their way to a 67-46 win. Coastal’s defense, anchored by center Owen Murphy (Plymouth, Plymouth North), played strong the entire game and only allowed 12 first half points. Coastal’ offense was led by guard Andrew McGill (West Falmouth, Falmouth), Murphy and forward Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Silver Lake) each scored 12 points. In the second half, Central finally started to find the net, scoring 17 points in each of the final two quarters.

Southeast 76, West 74
Southeast is going for the gold after defeating West, 76-74. Southeast was up 12-7 at the end of the first quarter, though West pulled within three, 27-24, at the half. The game remained tight into the fourth quarter when things really got interesting. With West down and seconds remaining on the clock, forward Justin Crosby (Westfield, Westfield HS) drilled a three to send the game into overtime. Despite allowing the game to be tied, Southeast played aggressively in overtime and West found themselves down again with just five seconds remaining. However, there wouldn’t be any miracles this time. West bobbled a pass and the ball went out of bounds. Southeast guard David Harrison (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) led all scorers with 28 points, while Crosby scored a team-high 22 points for West.

Central 75, Northeast 26
Guard Isaiah Tatum (Worcester, Holy Name) led all scorers with 16 points as Central beat Northeast, 75-26. Central was ahead 37-17 at the half and never looked back. Central guard Jesse Meresca (Sterling, Wachusett) added another 12 points, while Northeast point guard John King (Swampscott, Swampscott HS) led the team in scoring with 10 points.

Coastal 76, Metro 72
Coastal held off a late charge by Metro to secure a 76-72 win. Coastal’s Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Silver Lake) and Metro’s Matt Woods shared the honor of game’s high scorer with 22 points apiece. Jesse Bunting (Plymouth, Plymouth North) chipped in with 15 for the winners, while Kevin Foley netted 16 in the losing effort.

Girls Scholastic
Reggie Lewis Center – Boston, MA

Northeast 66, Metro 41
Northeast opened up a huge halftime lead and never looked back on the way to a 66-41 decision. Northeast got scoring from its entire roster with Carlene Kluge (Reading, Reading HS) tallying the most points with 13. Metro’s Gena Restiano (Revere, Revere HS) notched a game-high 15 points.

West 55, Southeast 42
Forward Alexis Chappell (Springfield, Sabis HS) was the only West player in double figures, netting 14, but her team was still able to come out on top, 55-42. Kayla Corshia (Medway, Medway HS) and Ashley Snyder (Foxboro, Foxboro HS) each scored 12 for Southeast.

Central 81, Coastal 70
In a high-scoring affair, Central hung on for an 81-70 victory over Coastal. The bulk of the winner’s points came from Sammie Battaini (Leominster, St. Bernard's Central Catholic) and Raegan Muhlerin (Baldwinville, Narragansett Reg HS), who dropped 25 and 23, respectively. Coastal’s Jen Rock (Byfield, Triton) nailed five 3-pointers to finish with 21 points, and Angelique Martinez (Taunton, Taunton HS) was in double digits with 13.


FIELD HOCKEY
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Metro/Northeast 2, Central 1
Metro/Northeast defeated Central, 2-1, on Saturday morning. Junior Erika Kelly (Watertown, Watertown HS) scored both of Metro/Northeast’s goals to propel her squad to victory. The lone goal for Central was scored by freshman Justine Sheehan (Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury HS) with an assist from junior Haylie Dolan (West Brookfield, Quaboag Reg. HS).

Southeast 2, West 0
Southeast earned a 2-0, shutout victory against West on Saturday morning. Junior Katy Cronin (Franklin, Franklin HS) broke the game open for Southeast with an unassisted goal. Southeast extended its lead, when sophomore Brenna Spolidoro (Franklin, Franklin HS) scored with an assist from junior Mackenzie Hudson (Stoughton, Stoughton HS). Sophomore Carolyn Cook (Medfield, Medfield HS) and junior Katie Kelley (Walpole, Walpole HS) combined for the shutout in goal for Southeast.

Metro/Northeast 5, Coastal 2
After falling behind by a pair of goals, Metro/Northeast scored five unanswered including two from Erika Kelly (Watertown, Watertown HS) to upend Coastal, 5-2. Brittany Oliver (Chelmsford, Chelmsford HS), Nicole Woods (Beverly, Beverly HS) and Alexa Baumgartner (Newton, BB&N) each potted a goal. Maggie Johnson (Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard Reg HS) netted both scores for Coastal.

West 2, Central 0
Emiko Barker (Hatfield, Smith Academy) and Emily Medeiros (Wilbraham, Minnechaug Reg. HS) each scored a goal to pace West in its 2-0 win over Central. In net, Sarah Cote (Athol, Athol HS) and Jill Newton (Feeding Hills, Agawam HS) combined for the shutout.


LACROSSE

Boys Scholastic
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA

Northeast 10, West 7
Northeast survived a barrage from West to take a 10-7 victory. The undefeated Northeast squad took an early 4-0 lead before West came storming back in the second and third quarters with seven goals to take a 7-5 advantage. Northeast, unaccustomed to trailing, awoke from its slump and scored five unanswered in the fourth quarter to salvage the win and remain undefeated. Brian Walsh (Lowell, Lowell HS) was the top scorer for the winners with three, and Brendan Gilgun (Woburn, Woburn Memorial HS) and Cole Connolly (Woburn, Woburn Memorial HS) added two goals apiece. Brady Aitken (Pittsfield, Pittsfield HS) potted three for West in the losing effort.

Coastal 16, Central 6
Coastal dominated the entire contest on the way to a 16-6 win. James McCleod paced the offense with five goals and Ethan McCullough (Brewster, Nauset Reg. HS) contributed four markers for Coastal.

Coastal 14, Metro/Southeast 7
Coastal took a 10-2 advantage into halftime and never looked back on the way to a 14-7 win. Brett McAvay had an outstanding game for Coastal with seven goals scored. James McCleod added four tallies. Metro/Southeast got four goals and an assist from Ryan McCarthy (Medford, Medford HS). The two teams will play again on Sunday in the bronze medal game.

West 16, Central 2
West earned a berth in the gold medal game Sunday against Northeast with an impressive display against Central that resulted in a 16-2 victory. Junior goalie Tyler Walsh (Northampton, Northampton HS) was the cornerstone in the strong defensive showing. Brady Aitken (Pittsfield, Pittsfield HS) led the offensive charge with five goals.

Girls Scholastic
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Metro 18, Northeast/Central 11
Metro routed Northeast/Central, 18-11, in a high-scoring, offensive showcase on Saturday morning. Junior Michelle Kudlate (Waltham, Waltham HS) and freshman Shannon Fitzgerald (Newton, Newton North) led the Metro squad to victory with seven and six goals, respectively. Junior Katie McKenna (Danvers, Danvers HS) was the top scorer for Northeast/Central with four goals.

Southeast/Coastal 11, West 6
Southeast/Coastal played tight defense and got balanced scoring to defeat West, 11-6. The winners had four players with two goals including Hope Kelley (E. Walpole, Walpole HS), Natalie Devine (East Walpole, Fontbonne Academy), Madison Hughes (Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard Reg. HS) and Alexandrea Bergamo (Plymouth, Plymouth North HS). Alexa Allen (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS) had a pair of tallies for West.

Southeast/Coastal 17, Northeast/Central 4
Southeast/Coastal outgunned a gutty Northeast/Central squad, 17-4. Natalie Devine (East Walpole, Fontbonne Academy) was the game’s high scorer with five goals. Jackie Connors (Ashland, Ashland HS) added three scores, while Megan Kiley (Braintree, Archbishop Williams HS) and Kristen Hickey (Dedham, Ursuline Academy) each chipped in with a pair of tallies. Northeast/Central’s Isabella Gitto (Leominster, Leominster HS) netted three of her teams goals.

Metro 11, West 10
Metro edged out West, 11-10, in a tightly contested match-up in the final game of the day. Shannon Fitzgerald (Newton, Newton North) continued her stellar performance in the tournament with three goals for Metro, and Bridget Wack (Waltham, Waltham HS) and Jordan Sullivan (Malden, Mystic Valley) had a pair of tallies each. West’s Ashley Owen (Westfield, Westfield HS) netted two goals in the losing effort.
Tags:

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Friday's Bay State Games results

July, 16, 2011
7/16/11
12:04
PM ET
Courtesy Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:


BASKETBALL

Boys Scholastic 11/12 Grade
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA

Metro 86, Northeast 75

Central vs Coastal
Results not available

West 91, Southeast 89
West beat Southeast in a nail-biting 91-89 overtime thriller. The game was close throughout with West holding a slim 15-11 lead after the first quarter and an even slimmer 35-34 lead at the half. However, at the end of the fourth quarter West found itself down by one with just a few second left on the clock. With one shot left, Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) drilled a shot at the buzzer to tie the game at 74-74 and send them into overtime. Allen, who led West with 15 points, added another six points in overtime to seal the win. Southeast’s Sayvonn Houston (Brockton, Brockton HS) led all scorers with 25 points.

Coastal 100, Metro 91
Coastal drained nine 3-pointers as they defeated Metro 100-91. Coastal jumped out to an early 30-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. By halftime Metro had cut the lead down to 54-47. However, Coastal regained a nine point lead going into the fourth quarter and never looked back. Leading the charge for Coastal was guard Chris Green (Taunton, Taunton HS) who scored 22 points, 18 of which were in the first half while Andrew Kenyon (Swansea, Case HS) added another 20 points.

West 124, Northeast 85
West had seven players score in double digits as they demolished Northeast, 124-85. Northeast kept the game close in the beginning, and were within three points, 50-47, at the half. However, in the third quarter West erupted for 41 points. West’s Phil DePhilips (Orange, Mahar HS) led the team with 21 points, 10 of which came during the second half explosion. Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) added 19 points for the winners.

Central vs Southeast
Results not available

Boys Scholastic 9/10 Grade
Reggie Lewis Center – Boston, MA

Metro 77, Northeast 48
Metro sailed past Northeast Friday morning with a score of 77-48. Northeast’s Jordan Mendez (Salem, North Shore Tech) netted a game-high 20 points in the victory. His teammate, Jack Jimenez (Salem, Salem Academy Charter), contributed 11 points. Metro’s leading scorer was Tyler Sullivan with 16 points, though Matt Woods was close behind, scoring 15.


Coastal 83, Southeast 76
In one of the tightest games so far in the tournament, Coastal defeated Southeast, 83-76. Coastal’s sophomore guard Ryan St. Clair (Easton, Oliver Ames) put up a team-high 22 points. His teammate sophomore guard Tony Pires (Carver, Carver) scored 16 points. Despite being on the losing squad, freshman forward Dave Harrison (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) netted a game-high 22 points. His teammate sophomore forward Paul Preziosi (Abington/Hull, Cardinal Spellman HS) contributed 15 points.

West 65, Central 62
West snuck past Central on Friday by a narrow three-point margin, 65-62. Sophomore forward Justin Crosby (Westfield, Westfield HS) posted 13 points toward his West squad’s win, while his teammates, freshman Corey Baker (Granby, Granby HS) and sophomore Andy Gifford (Granby, Granby HS) each scored 11 points. Central’s sophomore guard Colin Richey (Upton, Whitinsville Christian) netted a game-high 16 points. His teammate, sophomore guard Mark Deuris (Uxbridge, Uxbridge) contributed 11 points.

Southeast 72, Northeast 48
Southeast defeated Northeast, 72-48, Friday afternoon. Southeast’s freshman guard Dave Harrison (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) led the charge, notching 16 points. His teammate, sophomore Ridge Francisque (Brockton, Brockton HS), was close behind with 13 points. Northeast sophomore Jordan Mendez (Salem, North Shore Tech) managed to net a game-high 18 and his teammate, sophomore Jack Jimenez (Salem, Salem Academy Charter), scored 13 points.

Metro vs Central
Results not available.

Coastal vs West
Results not available.

Girls Scholastic
Emmanuel College – Boston, MA

Southeast 66, Metro 52
Southeast got 15 points from sophomore center Ashley Snyder (Foxboro, Foxboro HS) to help them to victory over Metro, 66-52. Senior guard Katelyn Sousa (Hopkinton, Hopkinton HS) contributed 11 points to the offensive effort. Despite the loss, both sophomore Gena Restiano (Revere, Revere HS) and junior Colleen Kane (Arlington, Arlington HS) managed to put up 11 points each for their Metro squad.

Northeast 68, Central 37
Northeast put on an offensive showcase as they defeated Central, 68-37. They came out hard, outscoring Central 22-8 in the first quarter alone. Senior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Bishop Fenwick HS) scored a game-high 11 points to propel her team to victory. Her teammate, Nicole Catizone (Woburn, Arlington Catholic HS), contributed nine points to the effort. Central’s leading scorer was Sammie Battaini (Leominster, St. Bernard’s Central Catholic), with seven points.

West 58, Coastal 43
West defeated Central Friday by a 58-43 margin. Junior Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, Pittsfield HS) contributed a game-high 12 points to the win. West sophomore Alyssa Darling (Palmer, Palmer HS) scored 10 points. The leading scorer for the Coastal squad was sophomore Angelique Martinez (Taunton, Taunton HS), who netted 10 points. Her teammate senior Jennifer Rock (Byfield, Triton), scored eight.

Central vs Southeast
Results not available.

West vs Metro
Results not available.

Northeast 73, Coastal 36
Northeast was too strong for an undermanned Coastal squad as they walked away with a 73-36 win. Kaitlyn Lipka (Peabody, Bishop Fenwick HS) led all scorers with 15 and Carlene Kluge (Reading, Reading HS) added 12 points for the winners. Coastal’s Rachel Camara (Fall River, Durfee) gave strong effort, collecting 13 points.


FIELD HOCKEY
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Metro/Northeast 2, West 1
Whitney Jones (Sudbury, Brooks School) and Erika Kelly (Watertown, Watertown HS) each scored a goal to help Metro/Northeast edge West, 2-1. Morgan Mazanec (Selburne, Mohawk Trail Reg. HS) collected the lone tally for West.

Southeast 6, Coastal 1
Southeast got goals from six different players to blow past Coastal, 6-1. Katy Cronin (Franklin, Franklin HS), Kayla Garczynski (Norwood, Norwood HS), Meghan Pini (Natick, Natick HS), Meghan Murphy (Walpole, Walpole HS), Emily McColgan (Walpole, Southfield HS), and Mackenzie Hudson (Stoughton, Stoughton HS) each found the net. Meghan Carroll (Mansfield, Mansfield HS) broke up the shutout with a goal for Coastal.


LACROSSE

Boys Scholastic
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA

Northeast 14, Metro/Southeast 3

West 10, Coastal 8

Northeast 16, Central 4

Metro/Southeast 11, West 10

Girls Scholastic
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

West 14, Northeast/Central 6
West was too strong for Northeast/Central as they cruised to an easy 14-6 victory. Nicole Beliveau (Westfield, Westfield HS) notched four goals, Alicia Busco (Agawam, Agawam HS) potted three and Emily Allcroft (Northampton, Northampton HS) tallied a pair to pace the West offense. Northeast/Central’s Isabella Gitto (Leominster, Leominster HS) netted three goals in a losing effort.

Southeast/Coastal 15, Metro 10
Southeast/Coastal’s strong finish helps secure 15-10 win over Metro. After a slow start, Metro pulled within a goal midway through the second half before Southeast/Coastal scored four unanswered goals to come out on top. Natalie Devine (East Walpole, Fontbonne Academy) led her team with three goals, and four others chipped in with a pair of markers. Freshman Shannon Fitzgerald (Newton, Newton North) was terrific for Metro with six goals.

ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State Boys Basketball Team

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
5:09
PM ET
STARTING FIVE

Guard – Samir McDaniels, Sr., New Mission
The 6-foot-3 McDaniels was the steady hand that rocked the Titans' Division 2 state championship season. He averaged 18.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals as the Titans became the first team in MIAA history to win the Division 4 and Division 2 titles in back to back seasons. McDaniels recently committed to the University of New Haven for next fall.

Guard – Pat Connaughton, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The Notre Dame-bound Connaughton, currently ranked No. 96 in the ESPNU 100, once again saved his best performances for the postseason as the Eagles won the Division 1 state championship for the first time in school history. Connaughton averaged 21.8 points, 17 rebounds and 6.5 assists and took home the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year award. Connaughton, who will play both baseball and basketball for the Fighting Irish next year, is ranked No. 77 in Baseball America's list of Top 100 high school prospects.

Forward – Richard Rodgers, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Considered one of the best athletes to come out of Central Mass in the last two decades, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Rodgers was a monster in all facets of the game as the Pioneers made their fourth straight appearance in the Division 1 state final. The senior, who will continue his football career next fall at Cal as a tight end, averaged 17.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 4.1 steals and 3.4 assists in his final season in Shrewsbury. He is also the son of Holy Cross defensive coordinator and former Cal great Richard Rodgers, and the cousin of Buffalo Bills cornerback Jairus Byrd.

Forward – Jake Layman, Jr., King Philip
The 6-foot-7 Layman lived up to his potential high-major billing in his junior season with the Warriors, helping them end a 15-year postseason drought and set a school single-season record for wins (17) before bowing out in the Division 2 South finals. Layman averaged 24.6 points, 13.6 rebounds, 4.6 blocks, 3.1 steals and 2.3 assists; he also took home Hockomock League MVP honors. Layman's 1,196 points at KP are the most by any boy in school history. He currently holds offers from UMass, Providence, Boston College, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Brigham Young.

Center – Jimmy Zenevitch, Sr., Central Catholic
A force in the middle the last three seasons for the Raiders, the 6-foot-7 Zenevitch lived up to the hype headed into his senior season. He closed out his career with a strong finish, averaging 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and stretched many a defense with his ability to post up and shoot from long distance. He earned Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star nods, and his Raiders went 39-1 in MVC play the last two seasons. Zenevitch, whose older sister Kate is a freshman forward for Boston College, will continue his career next fall at Division 2 Assumption College.

BEST OF THE REST

Jaylen Alicea, Sr., Lawrence
Few had as explosive a postseason as the 5-foot-8 Alicea, who averaged 30.4 points in five playoff games as the Lancers became the first No. 15 seed since 1998 to advance to the Division 1 North final. The run included a 35-point effort in a shocking first round upset of No. 2 seed Cambridge, followed up the next game with 38 on Westford. For the season, Alicea averaged 19.3 points, four assists and three steals and earned a Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star nod.

Travonne Berry-Rogers, Sr., Lynn English
The 6-foot-1 Berry-Rogers made a name for himself as one of the North Shore's best finishers in his senior campaign, which ended in a D1 North semifinal loss to Lawrence but with some Northeastern Conference recognition. The senior, who was also an NEC All-Star in football, averaged 23.5 points, five assists and five rebounds to lead the 21-3 Bulldogs. He plans on pursuing basketball at the next level, and is considering several Division 2 and Division 3 colleges.

Joe Bramanti, Sr., Andover
The 6-foot-2 Bramanti was the Golden Warriors' prized horse in 2010-11, and they rode him to a 15-5 record and an appearance in the Division 1 North tournament. Bramanti averaged 22.3 points, six rebounds and four assists in his senior season, in which he took the Merrimack Valley Conference's MVP honors by an almost unanimous decision. Bramanti is currently looking into pursuing a post-graduate season at a prep school.

Grant Cooper, Sr., Northampton
Cooper, a 6-foot-3 forward, played an instrumental role in the Blue Devils' Division 1 Western Mass championship season, and established himself as one of the premier forwards in the western part of the state. He finished his career at Hamp on a high note, averaging 11 points, 12 rebounds, 4.5 assists this season while also posting a field goal percentage of .550.

Marco Coppola, Sr., Watertown
The 6-foot-1 Coppola was instrumental to the Raiders' run to their third Division 3 state title game in six seasons, and also pitched in tremendously on the defensive end -- before losing to Whitinsville Christian in the state championship, they held their previous four opponents in the 30's. Coppola was Eastern Mass' leading scorer, averaging 25.1 points per game, and finishes fourth all-time on the school's scoring list, behind his older brother Anthony, Max Kerman and Kyle Stockmal. Coppola is currently undecided on college plans, but is leaning heavily towards Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Mark Cornelius, Sr., Westford
The 6-foot-2 Cornelius was a scoring machine this season for the Grey Ghosts, winning the Dual County League scoring title with an average of 21.1 points per game, and was co-MVP of the league. He saved arguably his best performance for last, getting 33 points and 23 rebounds in a loss to Lawrence in a Division 1 North quarterfinal. Also a standout wide receiver for the football team, Cornelius is undecided on college plans.

Alex Gartska, Sr., Westfield
One of the state's sharpest shooters, the 6-foot-1 guard averaged 19.7 points, three rebounds and two assists per game as the Bombers marched to a 20-3 record and an appearance in the Division 1 Western Mass final against Northampton. Gartska, who was recently named the MassLive/Basketball Hall of Fame's inaugural Western Mass Player of the Year, finished his career at Westfield with 1,172 career points. He is currently undecided on college plans.

Steve Haladyna, Jr., St. John’s Prep
The 6-foot-3 junior was the Pippen to Pat Connaughton's Jordan on this year's squad, but that proved to be a pivotal role in the Eagles' first basketball state championship season. In 2010-11, he averaged 19.7 points and seven rebounds as the Eagles battled through the toughest Division 1 North bracket in recent memory.

John Henault, Sr., St. Bernard’s
The Bernardians ended their season on a sour note with a shocking upset by Oxford in the Division 2 Central tournament, but the 6-foot-2 Henault ends his career on Harvard Street on a positively high one. He leaves St. B's as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,682 points) and led the state in scoring average (27.8 points) this season. He also racked up over 600 rebounds, 200 assists and 170 steals in his four-year career with the Bernardians. Henault is currently considering several Division 2 and 3 colleges.

Mike Lofton, Sr., Mansfield
With such a unique skill set, the 6-foot-4 senior played anywhere from point guard to power forward this year for the Hockomock League champions, and excelled in every role. Lofton averaged 13.5 points, 11 rebounds. 4.5 assists and 2.7 steals this season for the 24-3 Hornets, who won a wide-open Division 1 South before falling to eventual state champ St. John's Prep on the TD Garden floor. Lofton is currently considering several Division 2 and 3 schools.

Akosa Maduegbunam, Jr., Charlestown
In 25 games this season for the Townies, the 6-foot-4 slasher averaged 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals as they captured their first Boston City title since 2006. in his two seasons at Charlestown, he has averaged 20.5 points, seven rebounds and three assists. A two-time City all-star, Maduegbunam was also named the City tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Hans Miersma, Sr., Whitinsville Christian
Few teams in the state could match up with the Crusaders' size this season, and none was more pivotal than the 6-foot-9 Miersma. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks as the Crusaders captured their first Division 3 state title since 2005. The first team All-Dual Valley Conference center will continue his playing career next fall at Gordon College.

Joe Mussachia, Sr., Manchester-Essex
The 6-foot-6, Amherst College-bound forward excelled in a multitude of roles for the Hornets, who won the Cape Ann League and advanced all the way to the Division 4 North semifinals. Mussachia averaged 25.2 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks, and finishes as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,714 points). For his career at M-E, he averaged 20.9 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Jarrod Neumann, Jr., Northampton
The 6-foot-3 guard/forward helped to form Western Mass's most intimidating, swarming defenses, as the Blue Devils marched all the way to a 21-3 record and the Division 1 Central/West Final, where they lost to state runner-up St. John's of Shrewsbury. For the season, Neumann averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds. Barring the unexpected, Neumann should return next fall as one of the MIAA's top 2012 prospects.

Kachi Nzerem, Sr., New Mission
As one part of the Titans' three-headed monster of a backcourt, the 6-foot-5 Nzerem was a physical force around the rim. He averaged 17.1 points and 6.1 rebounds as the Titans became the first MIAA squad in history to win the Division 4 and Division 2 titles in back to back seasons. Nzerem is considering pursuing a post-graduate season at several prep schools.

Keandre Stanton, Jr., Lynn English
It was quite the breakout season for the 6-foot-6 Stanton, a Northeastern Conference All-Star who turned in a monster junior campaign to establish himself as one of the state's best pure athletes on the blocks. He averaged 19.5 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and achieved 10 triple-doubles on the season for the 21-3 Bulldogs, who advanced all the way to the D1 North semifinals before bowing out to Lawrence.

Jacquil Taylor, Soph., Cambridge
At 6-foot-8, the sophomore was one of the state's most imposing forces in the paint. He has started every game in his two years on the Falcons' varsity, and has only blossomed under head coach Lance Dottin; after averaging nearly a double-double as a freshman (nine points, 10 rebounds), he turned in an even more impressive sophomore season, with 13.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.8 blocks as the Falcons won the Greater Boston League outright for the second year in a row. He has already amassed 166 blocks in his young career (including over 100 this year), and is a two-time GBL All-Star.

Noah Vonleh, Soph., Haverhill
Ranked the No. 23 overall player nationally in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, the 6-foot-7 Vonleh came into the season with a load of hype, and lived up to it in spite of the Hillies' struggles to a 7-13 record this season. Vonleh averaged 18.4 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks and earned Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star recognition. Kansas, Pitt and Boston College are among the early offers for Vonleh, but expect that list to get quite lengthy over the next six months.

COACH OF THE YEAR: SEAN CONNOLLY, ST. JOHN'S PREP
Yes, one of the North Shore's all-time schoolboy greats has had one of New England's top senior talents to work with the last three seasons. But this season, which culminated in the program's first state championship, was all about the role players. And between Steve Haladyna, Freddy Shove, Isaiah Robinson, Mike Carbone and Owen Marchetti, this season was about a different player stepping up every night to ease the load off superstar Pat Connaughton. For that, and to survive one of the most loaded Division 1 North brackets in recent history, Connolly deserves some credit.

RUNNERS-UP:
1. Paul Neal, Lawrence
2. Cory McCarthy, New Mission

FINALISTS:
Bill Daley, Westfield
Paul DiGeronimo, Fitchburg
Rey Harp, Northampton
Rick Kilpatrick, Acton-Boxborough
Sean McInnis, King Philip
Duane Sigsbury, Manchester-Essex
Malcolm Smith, East Boston

ALL-DEFENSIVE
G – Joe Bramanti, Sr., Andover
G – Luis Puello, Jr., Central Catholic
G – Akosa Maduegbunam, Jr., Charlestown
F/C – Jacquil Taylor, Soph., Cambridge
C – John Swords, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury

ALL-SHOOTERS
Pat Connaughton, Sr., St. John's Prep
Marco Coppola, Sr., Watertown
Alex Gartska, Sr., Westfield
John Henault, Sr., St. Bernard's
Jake Laga, Sr., Northampton

ALL-FRESHMAN
G – Jonathan Joseph, Brockton
G – Tyler Nelson, Central Catholic
G – Damion Smith, West Roxbury
F – Drew Shea, Medfield
F – Aaron Falzon, Newton North

BEST FANS
1. Northampton
2. St. John's (Shrewsbury)
3. Newton North
4. Central Catholic
5. St. John's Prep

(NOTE: Some headshots were provided by ESPN's Adam Finkelstein, courtesy of his New England Recruiting Report)

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